There is no homeless shelter in Dickinson, North Dakota. There should have been one built within a couple of years of the most recent oil boom that began in 2007. Now that the oil boom is over, and many people will lose their jobs and their homes, this is another reason why Dickinson needs a homeless shelter.
No matter who you think you are, you really do not know what is going to happen to you. You may think that you have thought of everything to ensure that you will always be O.K., but I can assure you that you will not always be O.K. You are mistaken if you think that it is only other people whose lives fall apart.
The people who do not want a homeless shelter in Dickinson, foremost do not see this as something that they personally will ever need. Secondly, they see homeless people as being nothing like them. These first two attitudes and beliefs need to be addressed, because they are not true.
Most personal bankruptcies in the United States are due to catastrophic illness or injury. Most of these people never saw this coming. Some had health insurance, but the medical costs greatly exceeded what the health insurance would pay. Yes, part of the equity in a home is protected in bankruptcy. But after bankruptcy related to a catastrophic illness or injury, how likely is it that the person will be able to return to full time employment doing the same work? Bankruptcy proceedings are meant to uncover all assets that a person owns, to determine their ability to pay their debts. It is unlikely that anyone who goes through bankruptcy will have hidden money that will allow them to not have to work.
Experiencing a catastrophic illness or injury, can and does lead to people losing their homes and becoming homeless. You could argue that a person could or would go on Social Security Disability, but not if they were determined to be recovered.
Another example that I will give comes from a news article that I read this past week titled, “Honey, you’ve been scammed.” A woman of about 60 years of age heard about a mortgage refinance opportunity which she applied for and was enrolled in. The new mortgage company was fraudulent, and it never took over or applied any of her payments to the existing mortgage. The woman’s home was foreclosed on that she had been living in for the past thirty years, and she was evicted from her home. The fraudulent mortgage company was found to have done this to thousands of other people, the perpetrators were arrested, but it is not expected that any of the victims will ever recover any money.
The 60 year old woman that was the victim of the mortgage fraud, was a single mother that had to work hard and be smart with her money in order to buy her own home thirty years ago. She was not stupid, anyone can become the victim of a fraudulent mortgage company. Any mortgage, finance, or investment company can steal funds, which clients may never be able to recover.
I am trying to explain that many of the things that cause people to become homeless can also happen to you. You might think that you can rely on friends and family, but in a town like Dickinson, everyone might experience financial difficulty at the same time.
A homeless shelter is sometimes necessary for people who aren’t bad people, or poor people, or people who made bad decisions, but people who experienced some type of catastrophe that could have happened to any of us.
Don’t think that I am trying to make my argument about the need for a homeless shelter by using the rare example of good innocent people. I am trying to make you understand that the life events that cause people to become homeless can happen to anyone. I hope that you will finally see that anyone, including yourself could possibly become homeless.
Honest, hard working people, who have done nothing wrong, sometimes live in an area where there is economic decline. They may be positive an optimistic about finding work where they live, and wait too long. When they finally do decide to travel to a different state to find work, they may be driving a vehicle that is not very nice, and have very little money. They may not be able to pay for a motel. This describes many of the people that came from out of state to work in Dickinson.
I don’t see anything wrong, and I do see everything right about having a big warehouse where these people could sleep, eat, and take a shower. What harm would this cause the people in Dickinson? I have heard people comment that Dickinson doesn’t want to become a magnet for vagrants by having a homeless shelter. I don’t think that it is right for people to be treated badly supposedly because we don’t want a bunch of vagrants to come here. If Dickinson became known as a friendly hospitable place, all kinds of people, not just vagrants might want to live here.